When Brian Maixner finally looked into a mirror on Tuesday afternoon, he didn’t recognize the man staring back at him.
His face was fuller. The wrinkles in his cheeks were gone. His chin looked more prominent.
And most striking: The smile that for years had been full of big holes and painful infected areas had been replaced with two rows of perfectly straight, white teeth.
Hours after the procedure in Ponca City, Okla., on Tuesday, Maixner was still trying to adjust.
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“I’m still in shock,” he said.
Maixner, the cheerful, smiling waiter who is well known to customers at both Doo-Dah Diner, 206 E. Kellogg, and at his previous employer, Ming’s at 1625 S. Seneca, has long struggled with serious dental problems. He never could afford the dental work he needed.
Then, in January, he got a surprise tip from a customer. One Saturday, he waited on out-of-towner Fred Boettcher, who’d had dental problems of his own as a child. Now a successful Ponca City attorney, Boettcher offered to pay for Maixner to get a new smile. He’d done the same for a few other people in the past.
On Monday, Maixner had his remaining bad teeth pulled by Boettcher’s dentist, Phillip Tyndall in Ponca City. On Tuesday, he was fitted with a new set of dentures. In about six to eight months, Maixner said, once the bone heals, the dentist will replace the dentures with dental implants – also a gift from Boettcher.
Maixner said he’ll be back at work on Wednesday and can’t wait to show off his new look. He’ll be on soft foods for a while, and he’s having to learn to speak clearly again.
Just details, he said.
“I’m enjoying the heck out of this,” he said. “It’s a whole life changer.”